The most commonly used tool in the Business Intelligence (BI) realm of data analysis is arguably financial reporting, which acts a springboard for other modules like budgeting, forecasting and modeling, data visualizations, and consolidations. In general, financial reporting is analysis done in a comprehensive, routine manner to make sense of company data for better decision-making. Zooming in, ad hoc reporting and analysis is a more specific kind of report. We at ACI Consulting will explore the perks of ad hoc report writing capabilities and what to seek out in a financial reporting tool for maximization of this feature.
“Ad hoc” indicates a task that is completed for a particular purpose, so ad hoc reporting then refers to a report that professionals require to answer a more specific data-driven question. Additionally, ad hoc reporting tends to drill down and drill to in a deeper manner or respond to queries that the typical corporation-wide reports are not answering. Ad hoc reports allow business users to achieve answers to their own inquiries in regard to company information, without derailing or detouring from company-wide reporting indefinitely. Because the data is harvested from the same sources, the analytics are consistent, relevant, and precise, but similar to project budgeting, questions and tasks can surface outside of the typical reporting that drives the overall development of the entire organization – and different company dynamics have diverse requirements.
Depending on how many employees need to generate customized reports and the organization of the company, the capability to run ad-hoc reports can be quite useful in achieving data analysis goals. We at ACI Consulting recently spoke with an accounting clerk based in St. Louis about her organization’s BI solutions. She confided in us that she generated an ad hoc report just the other day to evaluate whether an investment in some new tools for the warehouse would return any profit for the corporation, considering the accounts and contracts that were already signed and scheduled. This report answered a very particular query, but running it relied on the same organizational data, using cost of goods, savings provided by the equipment, and other variables. She receives these type of report requests regularly. For some companies, it might be more sensible to routinely run ad hoc reports, based on the organization of the corporation or other conditions.
We spoke to the CEO of another organization who supervises a big group of direct, outside salesmen as most of his revenue-generating personnel. It is extremely useful for each salesperson to manage their sales performance by running ad hoc reports that can compare projected goals and actuals, side by side, for their region. While this principal utilizes ad hoc reports front and center as a requisite for the unique cultural structure and dynamic of his organization, most companies rely on distinctive analytics on just a periodical basis.
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